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The Untold Truth Of Black Panther And Daredevil's Relationship

When you think of superhero friendships in the Marvel Universe, a number of names come to mind. There's the friendly rivalry of Spider-Man and the Human Torch. There's the warm Avengers friendship of Iron Man and Thor. There's the hard-won respect between Hawkeye and Captain America. The Wasp trying to make the She-Hulk a bit more fashionable bloomed into a warm friendship. And, of course, Luke Cage and Danny Rand were partners and best friends. 

However, there's another deep friendship between characters almost as old as the Marvel Universe itself — the unlikely relationship between the Black Panther and Daredevil. They first meet in Daredevil Vol. 1, #52, from 1969, and immediately grow close because T'Challa is one of the rare individuals who learns Daredevil's secret identity. Time and circumstances often keep them apart after their initial adventures, as Daredevil moves to San Francisco for a while and T'Challa has his duties as king of all the Wakandas. 

However, they've still been in and out of each other's lives in significant ways since they met. Usually, they are allies. Sometimes, they clash. On other occasions, they are there for each other when their lives are turned upside down. Let's explore the relationship between Daredevil and the Black Panther. 

Learning Daredevil's secret

The Black Panther and Daredevil meet thanks to a case of mistaken identity. Foggy Nelson and the police are desperately trying to track down Daredevil when they learn that the treatment he has just been given had a negative interaction with his blood, threatening to kill him. T'Challa, the Black Panther, is prowling the city's rooftops, looking for the missing Avenger, Hawkeye. The police think he is Daredevil, thanks to his silhouette, but the Panther quickly leaves to help track him down. 

Matt Murdock has decided to swear off being Daredevil after disarming a robot assassin and is unaware that he is in danger. He leaves Karen Page in the hands of the assassin Starr Saxon, who has gone through Murdock's apartment and discovered his secret identity. Murdock cuts his hand during dinner and passes out on a rooftop, where the Panther discovers him. A delirious Murdock stuns the Panther, but T'Challa follows him to his apartment and surprises Saxon. Daredevil arrives and knocks Saxon out, but the assassin is revived and escapes.

Daredevil tracks him down and tells the Panther he wants to do this alone. The Panther goes along with this but secretly doubles back to follow him, just in case. Upon seeing Daredevil confront Saxon, the Panther learns Daredevil's true identity. T'Challa doesn't interfere any further, vowing to keep this secret until they meet again. 

Busting the Thunderbolts (not those Thunderbolts)

Daredevil busts up a robbery, but the getaway driver is badly injured trying to get away. To his surprise, the Black Panther shows up out of nowhere and urges Daredevil to get the driver, a young teen named Lonnie, to the hospital. Daredevil pulls some strings, as Matt Murdock, to get the best surgeon in town to operate, saving Lonnie's life.

Daredevil questions the Panther as to why he was there, and T'Challa tells him that Lonnie is a student of a "friend" of his, a teacher named Luke Charles. Of course, this is the false identity that T'Challa uses when he decides to be a schoolteacher in Harlem during his first stint as an Avenger. Lonnie Carver is the younger brother of a Vietnam War vet named Billy Carver, and the Panther saves them from a beating by a Black nationalist gang called the Thunderbolts. T'Challa dismisses them as criminals, not activists, but when Lonnie becomes depressed, the Panther learns that Billy had joined the Thunderbolts.

At that point, T'Challa reveals that he is Luke Charles to Daredevil and then tells him that he knows he is Matt Murdock. Acting on a tip, they bust up the Thunderbolts as Billy reveals that he has gone undercover to find out who is behind the gang. Bill later has a brief career as a superhero named Thunderbolt. This issue also introduced Turk Barrett, a future low-level operative for the Kingpin. 

Saving the Avengers from the Zodiac

The citizens of New York City awaken to learn that they have been invaded by an army led by the Zodiac crime cartel. Their leader, Aries, quickly subdues the police and announces that he has captured the Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Quicksilver. A force field they have erected around the city keeps out those trying to interfere, while Aries demands a ransom of a billion dollars to prevent further violence.

Just a day after subduing the Thunderbolts, the sole Avenger to avoid capture, Black Panther, seeks out the one man he knows he can count on: Daredevil. The duo tracks the Avengers to a warehouse, but Aries is there with the powerful Zodiac Key, and they can't free their friends. Aries is about to publicly execute the Avengers before a disguised Daredevil destroys the machine holding them captive. Aries' army is no match for the Avengers, and Thor pursues him. Aries uses the key to try and kill everyone in the city (including his own soldiers), but Thor calls down lightning which blows Aries' ship to bits. 

Afterward, discussing the case with the Avengers, they realize they have all been pursuing the Zodiac. This is because the Thunderbolts are working for the Zodiac, but none of the Avengers could see the bigger picture until the Zodiac struck. Daredevil refers to the parable of the blind men examining an elephant, but only Black Panther sees the irony in the story!


Daredevil and the Black Panther sometimes don't see eye-to-eye. One day, Daredevil stops a beatdown in an alley. That beatdown is meant as an example for a man named Wheeler, an ex-citizen of Wakanda. Wheeler is a former member of the elite Wakandan defense forces who keeps his armor at home. Wheeler is married to a cousin of T'Challa, and the two moved to New York and had a son named Billy. T'Challa informs Billy that if he ever needed him, he could call. 

However, Wheeler has an obsessive personality and develops a gambling addiction. His inability to stop makes him beholden to every loan shark in town, leaving him unable to feed his family or pay the bills. Billy calls T'Challa, who covers Wheeler's immediate gambling debt. Wheeler is furious, humiliated by T'Challa's generosity. T'Challa tells him that if his cousin is unhappy, he will take her back to Wakanda.

Wheeler responds by robbing a bank in his armor, but Daredevil and the Panther stop him. T'Challa tells Wheeler that he paid all of his debts and could start over, but Wheeler refuses, gripped by addiction. T'Challa tells him to go, even as Wheeler implies he is going to kill himself. Daredevil is furious that T'Challa decides to give up on him. They come to blows when T'Challa tries to prevent Daredevil from stopping Wheeler. Daredevil prevails and saves Wheeler's life, with T'Challa helping at the end, even though he is still skeptical that people could actually change.

T'Challa goes undercover for the first time

One of the interesting things about T'Challa and Matt Murdock's relationship is that they rarely spend social time together. Unlike the Thing and his poker games or Spider-Man and the Human Torch hanging out at the Statue of Liberty, the Black Panther and Daredevil have an intuitive friendship born of mutual respect and a willingness to help each other at a moment's notice.

However, one thing they have in common is their incredible agility and heightened senses, along with an unconventional fighting style. Daredevil frequently has difficulties keeping his secret identity under wraps, even with the built-in excuse of how unlikely it was for a superhero to be blind. You could chalk that up to sheer carelessness. When Matt Murdock moves to San Francisco, Daredevil suddenly pops up there as well. Moreover, Matt Murdock is publicly connected to his girlfriend Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. When a reporter puts all of this together on TV, Murdock panics for a moment, especially since he is searching for a kidnapped Natasha.

Daredevil emerges to fight a villain called the Blue Talon. This draws a crowd, including the police commissioner — and Matt Murdock? Murdock explains that his brother Mike was the first Daredevil, but this is someone new. When the Blue Talon dies in an explosion, Daredevil leaves. However, it was really the Black Panther the entire time, whom Murdock calls in to protect his secret, knowing that T'Challa can fight just like him. 

Interrupting a love triangle

The relationship between Daredevil and the Black Widow is always a rocky one, and when Hawkeye comes to San Francisco to declare his love for Natasha again, things only get worse. A predictable brawl ensues between Hawkeye and Daredevil, which does little to impress the Widow. Meanwhile, the Avengers have suffered a massive defeat to Magneto, who not only wins a battle, he takes the Scarlet Witch, Captain America, and Iron Man as his mind-slaves, along with the X-Men. That leaves just Vision, Thor, and Black Panther as the remaining Avengers. Trying to recruit help, T'Challa suggests that they visit Daredevil.

When the Avengers arrive in San Francisco, they see that they have stumbled into a love triangle, as the Black Widow confesses she still has feelings for Hawkeye as well as Daredevil. Hawkeye, who quits the Avengers, is furious at Natasha, thinking she has called them. He leaves in a huff. Daredevil initially turns down T'Challa's plea for help as he prefers to work with a single partner, if any at all. T'Challa reminds Daredevil that he owes him a favor for the recent time when he impersonated him, at least for one mission.

Daredevil and the Black Widow join them, and they defeat Magneto. As per usual, Daredevil and the Panther work well as fighting partners, exchanging quips as they fight. Daredevil declines Avengers membership, but the Black Widow does not, leaving Daredevil alone.

The perils of fighting Prince Namor

Daredevil and the Black Panther rarely take on the same case as a duo. However, sometimes things get complicated, and they help each other on cases when they can. This is true when the inventor and industrialist Robert Mallory tries to cut a deal with the Black Panther to get Vibranium to help focus his undersea energy converter. 

A Maggia captain named Ruffio Costa kidnaps Mallory's son to get the plans to his energy station. Meanwhile, the Sub-Mariner goes on one of his periodic rampages through New York while hunting down Mallory. When Namor learns of the plans for the station, he realizes that it poses a danger not only to his kingdom of Atlantis, but to the world in general. Daredevil tries to get him to slow down but instead earns a series of beatings at the hands of the irate monarch. 

The Panther tries to rescue Mallory's son, but the Maggia get the drop on him, taking him captive. He calls Matt Murdock to deliver an extra ransom for him, knowing that Daredevil would respond. The Panther escapes on his own and then teams up with Daredevil, who sees Namor again and talks him out of killing Mallory. The Panther and Daredevil defeat Costa's men, but Costa falls into a machine that gives him super-powers (and, somehow, a costume). After a furious fight, T'Challa and Daredevil win, recognizing they both have to be a little crazy to be superheroes.

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear

Perhaps the most dramatic wrinkle in the relationship between Daredevil and the Black Panther comes at a crossroads for both men. Daredevil becomes the leader of the ninja assassin group The Hand, intending to turn it into a force for good. Instead, he is possessed by an evil Hand spirit and becomes a brutal tyrant who terrorizes Hell's Kitchen. Though he is purged of the spirit, he finds himself lost and needs to leave. Before he does, however, he needs to know that Hell's Kitchen will have a new protector.

Meanwhile, the Black Panther has been locked in an epic struggle with Dr. Doom. To thwart Doom, King T'Challa has to destroy Wakanda's vibranium reserves. In so doing, he cripples his country, both economically and technologically, before abdicating the throne. He returns to New York, his second home, and steps into Daredevil's role as protector. He also takes on a new secret identity to stay close to the people he cares about, such as Mr. Okonkwo, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who manages a diner called Devil's Kitchen. T'Challa steels himself for whoever chooses to move into Hell's Kitchen as his opponent.

The man who fills the power vacuum is Vlad "The Impaler" Dinu, a criminal who has received a Romanian version of the Super-Soldier Formula that gives him bioelectric powers. The Panther is able to take him down at great cost, while also dealing with a serial killer who murders child abusers. 

Fight like the Panther

Daredevil does not appear throughout most of T'Challa's tenure as guardian of Hell's Kitchen. However, the specter of Matt Murdock haunts T'Challa, because he feels that to protect Hell's Kitchen properly, he has to do it the way he thinks that Daredevil would have. Daredevil was an indomitable fighter who won because of his skill and grit, as well as a lifetime of knowledge regarding his neighborhood. T'Challa tries this approach against Vlad the Impaler, and while he eventually defeats his foe, it comes at the cost of many lives. 

When chasing down the crazy doctor who turns his former employee into a superpowered menace, he is forced to accept help from his wife, Storm, after he has told her that he wants to do this all himself. He also turns down aid from Spider-Man and Luke Cage for similar reasons. Since Daredevil was a solo act, he has to prove it to himself that he can also work alone. 

Finally, when Manhattan is in an uproar due to the consequences of the "Fear Itself" event, T'Challa realizes that in order to achieve his goals, he has to stop thinking like Daredevil. He has to start acting like himself. That means being four steps ahead of his enemies and luring them into complacency. This is exactly how he defeats the new Hate-Monger, setting him on a different path. 

Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive

The Black Panther concludes his sojourn into Hell's Kitchen with an epic showdown against the Kingpin. When Daredevil leaves his position as leader of the Hand, the Kingpin becomes their new leader. This makes the most lethal crime boss in New York even deadlier, with an army of totally obedient ninjas to go along with his ace assassins, Lady Bullseye and Typhoid Mary. When he starts targeting Wakandan businesses, it gets the Panther's attention. 

The Kingpin's plan is to kill certain members of the Bank of Wakanda to leverage a hostile takeover. This would have given him access to Wakandan land and resources, making him one of the most powerful men in the world. T'Challa rescues K'Tamo Chatarko, a member of the board, and keeps her safe. The Kingpin and Black Panther take turns trying to outmaneuver each other, but the Panther acts like himself. He assembles a team instead of acting on his own. He sets trap after trap for the Kingpin, manipulating his affections toward his assistant. 

An assault on the Kingpin's fortress is made not to defeat him physically but to distract him while the Panther exposes all of the Kingpin's operations worldwide with a computer attack. The Panther finds himself, at last, knowing his true purpose is to protect Wakanda. Matt Murdock returns to Hell's Kitchen, with both men knowing who they are and what they need to do.